Slieve Gullion has been described as Ireland’s most mystical mountain. It is to be found in central Ireland, situated in the very special landscape known as the Ring of Gullion, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The cultural heritage of this area is preserved through conservation work, and many visitors come to the Ring of Gullion to experience the natural setting and learn more about its history and folklore.
The brief for the project was to help create a magical experiential walk through the forest of Slieve Gullion, bringing the folklore of the site to life. CAP.CO’s creations would be alongside artists’ installations along a woodland fairy trail.
A key part of this project was ensuring that the new adventure play complemented the ancient and beautiful site, and sat well within the dramatic landscape. We started with storyboards and some atmospheric sketching to further understand the theming of the design.
Natural features of the site, such as this majestic old oak tree, became inspiring cues for the design of the adventure play.
The Giant’s Lair become a central feature of the project - a multi level magical structure that towered up in to the canopy. Nestled on the hillside, the structure was to be clad in natural materials, with elements collected from the woodland itself. Bright and whimsical colours would help to set the imagination alight.
The structure included turrets and winding staircase, hidden spiral staircases and a maze of crawl tunnels and ladders. A jungle bridge from the second level takes visitors over to the ladybird house - a secondary treehouse and play space with a super slide back down to the ground.
Alongside the artists’ installations, CAP.CO were asked to embellish the fairy trail with miniature doorways and exciting hints of little people that may live in the magical woodland.
One challenge inherent within the project was that the stunning ancient woodland site was incredibly difficult to access, as it was on the side of a mountain.
Although the scope of the project was eventually pared back due to reasons outside of our control, and despite working over the winter under tricky conditions, the Giant’s Lair and fairy walk came to life, transforming Slieve Gullion into a magical place for children and families to visit.
For more information about visiting Slieve Gullion Forest Park, see The Ring of Gullion’s website. Or watch the video below.